Landing in the US After Clearing US Customs in Ireland | Traveling in Ireland Podcast Episode 181

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When you fly direct from Ireland to the US via Dublin Airport or Shannon Airport you will clear US customs in Ireland.

I receive a lot of questions about this – from layovers and luggage to carry-on items.

What to Expect Arriving in the US after Clearing US Customs in Ireland

Jim S shared this scenario:
I'll be flying out of Shannon, which I believe should allow me to clear customs in advance (direct flight to Newark, United Airlines).  I have read two different things that seem to conflict.  I've read on the Shannon website that once you pre-clear in Ireland, your flight will arrive in the US as though it were a domestic flight.  I also read, on the Newark airport website, that all international flights that arrive will have to claim their bags, go through customs, then return their bags for the next flight.  I'm worried that they don't make a distinction for flights from Shannon and just lump them in as any other international flight. 
If I have to go through customs at Newark, I won't have time to connect.  Do you have specific knowledge of this

You will clear customs in Shannon and will arrive in Newark as a domestic flight. You should arrive in Terminal C, which handles both domestic & international flights for United.

Because you cleared customs you do not need to retrieve your bags (**provided your flights are booked on a single ticket) and can go directly to your next gate. Your bags will be transferred to your connecting flight.

I recommend a minimum of 2 hours between connecting flights, just in case of flight delays. 🙂

**Booked on a single ticket = Connecting flights are booked at the same time with a layover between. 

As to the layover between flights…

Airlines often make recommendations that are ‘doable' if everything runs correctly. It's when things don't run correctly that issues arise.

If the connection is under 60 minutes I definitely would not book it. 90 minutes is better…

What I did when I returned from Ireland irecently was book the later flight that I knew I would make – even if I were delayed.

And then I requested to be on standby for the earlier flight when I arrived back in the US with enough time to make that flight.

That way I knew I was guaranteed the later flight but was able to get onto the earlier one.

Had I booked the earlier one and missed it, knowing the last flight of the evening is always full, I would have had to get a hotel and not return home until the next day.

What About Duty Free Whiskey? Does It Need to Be Put in a Checked Bag?

Duty Free at Shannon Airport

Patrice W asked this question in the comments of my Dublin Airport article:
So if I am reading this correctly when I land in Boston (layover) on my way home to Charlotte I will not need to pick up my bags and recheck them?  I am wanting to buy some whisky duty-free and on my previous trips to Europe I had to put them in my checked bag before I rechecked them.

This is correct.

If your trip is booked on a **single ticket and you have a layover in Boston you will not need to pick up your checked bags – they will transfer to your next flight.

That said…  I haven't flown through Boston in a long time. I recommend checking which terminal your flight arrives in to and your next flight will depart from.

If they are the same terminal you won't need to pass through security again and that whiskey should be just fine to fly carry-on. If you can access the terminal you need without leaving the secure area your whiskey be fine to carry-on.

However, if the terminal set up is similar to Chicago, where most people have to take the train from one terminal to another, even if you don't need to pick up bags you'll be passing through security again – and that whiskey may not make it through.

Be sure to check how the terminals are set up at your connecting airport.

Do you have an Ireland travel question? Email your questions to – write Podcast Question in the subject line. Or message me on Instagram or Facebook @IrelandFamilyVacations. Don't forget to let me know how I can give you a shout out for sending it in!

Jody Halsted
Follow Along


  1. Hi Jody – enjoyed the podcast – very informative and useful information. Thought listeners might appreciate being aware of the other US Preclearance locations in addition to Dublin & Shannon. Here’s the current list from U S Customs & Border protection website:

    “15 Preclearance locations in 6 countries: Dublin and Shannon in Ireland; Aruba; Bermuda; Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; Nassau in the Bahamas; and Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg in Canada.”

    Link to the website:

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